Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Black Death v.s. 14th century European art

the bubonic plague that ravished late thirteenth century and early fourteenth century Europe first and foremost affected artistic production by infecting and slaughtering anywhere from fifty to sixty percent of Italy's then population. this obviously claimed the lives of a significant portion of European artists and muses that created or inspired Medieval and/or Renaissance art , teachers and philosophers that taught and nurtured curious young minds and consumers that purchased and promoted these works of art. 

those early-mid century Europeans not directly affected or eradicated by the plague were left behind in a murky fog of death and depression. the dwindling populace was left in a state of spiritual confusion. the artistic focus was suddenly switched to dramatic, almost morbid, religious views. at this time paintings, in a sense, introduced the idea of a broken (even sickly or dying) subject perhaps appearing starved or malnourished (maybe for spiritual fulfillment.) this encouraged a whole movement on religious and devotional imagery. we started seeing subjects, almost angelic in nature, emitting a glowing orb floating behind their heads. this "rebirth" of art (maybe dramatic and dark to us[maybe not]) gave hope to the hopeless at a time of chaotic, social distress. 

at this time, we also notice an uprising of hospitals and a new found understanding of the necessity for health care. it would seem the Europeans discovered: what is life if you don't have your health?

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